All posts by Jonathan

An Ode To Cincinnati

Hey! come dance along, dance along and diddle
To the sound of the guitar and the sound of two fiddles
And reeds in a box and strings in a piano.
You can sing along as well by singing bass or soprano.

Two come up from Lexington and two come from Chicago,
And one comes through the middle to the banks of the Ohio
To play those tunes so sweetly-o, to play those tunes so dear-o,
To the awesome dances chosen by our own Rachel Shapiro!

– Jonathan

Hope to see you in Cincinnati this weekend!

Combined Contra and Irish Set Dance in Chicago!

We’re delighted to inform you that we’ll be playing for a combined contra and Irish set dance here in Chicago on Sunday afternoon, June 9th at the Irish American Heritage Center. Here’s a chance to cross train your feet while dancing to solid traditional tunes!

Alan Beale will be teaching the sets, and Jo Mortland will be calling. The Otters duo will provide music throughout (assuming that the whiplash between the two styles of dancing doesn’t knock us to the floor).

See you there!

A little bonus this Sunday

While not officially a Cosmic Otters gig, we thought you’d like to know that Jonathan will be sitting in with Max Newman and Julie Vallimont (two members of Nor’easter) this Sunday afternoon (April 14th), from 12:30 to 3:30 in the Haas Park Fieldhouse on Chicago’s north side (2402 N. Washtenaw Avenue). Madison’s own Roger Diggle will be calling. $10 adults, $8 students and seniors.

See you there!


Our hosting company had two major power outages to contend with yesterday. As a result, our website was down and wasn’t restored again until this morning. Sorry about that.

To lift your spirits (or maybe it’s just my spirits), here is a picture of an otter.

An otter, dismayed that his website was down
An otter, dismayed that his website was down

A busy year ahead

Glancing over this year’s calendar, I’m not sure how we got this busy, but it’s definitely a good thing! Staying busy not only keeps us from mischief, but, even more importantly, we hope it keeps you dancing.

Here are a few highlights over the next couple of months:

  • The Midwinter Milwaukee Set Dance Weekend is this upcoming weekend. If you’re in the Great Lakes region and love Irish sets, come on out! The Cream City Ceili Band and Capitol Ceili Bands will be playing Friday and Saturday; we’ll be finishing things off Sunday afternoon.
  • The Fort Wayne dance weekend is over St. Patrick’s Day weekend and is fast approaching. This is a great opportunity for all of our Northern Indiana fans to come get their feet moving to our music. What’s more, the venerable Katie Zukof from Bloomington will be calling.
  • The Cincinnati Mini-Contra Weekend will be two days of dancing in mid-May. We will be a full quartet on Saturday evening and a fiddle trio on Sunday afternoon. Don’t miss this one!

We can’t wait to see you on the dance floor!